Meet New ‘Bachelorette’ Stars Katie Thurston and Michelle Young

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Chris Harrison has departed the Bachelor franchise for the time being, and it looks like the network decided to play it safe and do away with men all together for the rest of 2021: at the end of last night’s loaded After The Final Rose finale, ABC announced the next two (!) Bachelorettes.

If you’re new to Bachelor Nation, this is pretty atypical. In a normal year, the franchise will run one season each of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and Bachelor in Paradise (a.k.a. Chaos Mode). Instead, we’ll get two seasons of The Bachelorette — and Harrison replaced by two female co-hosts.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new Bachelorettes who will be carrying the franchise going forward:

WHO IS SEASON 17 BACHELORETTE, KATIE THURSTON?

Katie Thurston made headlines from her very first entrance on Season 25 of The Bachelor for presenting Matt James with a vibrator on Night One. Quickly heralded as a a “sex positive queen” on Twitter, Thurston asserted herself as one of the most emotionally mature contestants in franchise history. Her fate as the next Bachelorette was sealed when she helped diffuse the toxicity in the house, flaunting interpersonal and tension management skills that rivaled pretty much everyone else’s. Twitter asked, and it received! We can’t wait to see her navigate her journey to find love with ease and empowerment.

WHO IS SEASON 18 BACHELORETTE, MICHELLE YOUNG?

While followers of Reality Steve knew weeks ago that Katie Thurston had secured a season of her own, Michelle Young‘s bonus Bachelorette season was a happy surprise! The announcement could not have come at a better time. Bachelor Nation had just witnessed Michelle, a charismatic and stunning elementary school teacher, get dumped unceremoniously in favor of controversial frontrunner Rachael Kirkconnell in the Season 25 finale. We all knew she deserved better than Bachelor Matt the whole time, and now we get to watch her take her pick of eligible guys on her own terms.

Michelle barely had a social media presence before appearing on The Bachelor, signaling her authenticity and eagerness to find true love, rather than Instagram attention. Her casual dismissal of Matt James’s treatment of her in the After the Final Rose special indicated her readiness to look for what she wants. Thankfully, Matt James taught her “what she doesn’t want” in a relationship, so hopefully there are only good things ahead for this franchise favorite.

These two women have already established themselves as empowered, emotionally intelligent, and authentic role models. They are exactly the leads the franchise needs to help it weather the recent instability and scandal it has faced. Summer and Fall can’t come soon enough!

Where to watch The Bachelorette 

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